By Kay B. Day
Criticism of BP is certainly warranted, considering the damage from the Gulf Oil Spill. But other recent manufacturing and financial lapses have gone unchallenged. And there’s a chance public grilling for nothing more than political purposes could backfire.
The political topic of the day is conduct by BP in the Gulf Oil Spill disaster. Congressional leaders shook fingers and levied snarkisms at the company, yet gave federal oversight agency heads a pass.
Such a disaster warrants federal attention, of course, but our federal government tends focus on politics and self-growth rather than on common sense matters the government should be looking after. At present, the government can't run the government.
But if you think BP’s lapse is the only dastardly action harming Americans, you’d be wrong.
Start with China. Yep, start with our government’s most generous enabler of our debt. Had we thought to conduct hearings on the contaminated heparin scandal? That one continues to fly under the radar, perhaps because most of those affected were old. Where's Democrat outrage on that?
Front Page pointed out: “The Associated Press reports that at least 81 deaths and 785 ‘severe allergic reactions’ have been traced to contaminated heparin ‘made from ingredients imported from China.’ It appears that a Chinese plant was cutting corners to save money on the drug, using what The Baltimore Sun calls a ‘chemical modified to look like heparin’s main ingredient.’”
The AP should have said ’81 documented deaths,’ because we do not really know how many people died because of imported greed and laxity.
By the way, Front Page also points out the Chinese toy issue: “Some 20 million toys manufactured in China were recalled in 2007, after it was discovered that they contained unacceptable levels of lead. Just how high is ‘unacceptable’? The Consumer Product Safety Commission sets the acceptable level of lead at 600 parts per million (ppm), but in 2007 scientists found lead levels between 2,700 ppm and 39,000 ppm in Chinese-made items.”
There’s also the matter of China drywall—how many people have been sickened and how many homeowners are devastated because of this? Did any other countries get this product?
How about the recent recalls of Johnson and Johnson over-the-counter meds? The Royal Society of Chemistry wrote about conditions at one plant: “In early May, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the results of an inspection of J&J's manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, US. They found thick layers of dirt covering some equipment, and various raw materials had bacterial contamination. Manufacturing at the plant was suspended, and will not resume until all issues have been remedied; the FDA's criminal investigation office is now looking into the issue.”
Health and environmental matters aside, how about a good grilling of past and present Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac officials? These GSEs are sucking taxpayers dry as a Frito on a Florida rooftop in July.
Speaking of Fannie Mae, Jamie Gorelick would be a great tidbit for grilling, and while Congress is at it, they could quiz her on her actions described by one conservative blogger as establishing “a pre-Patriot Act ‘wall’ that prevented the foreign intelligence and criminal investigative communities from collaborating.” That’s when she was President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General. We should also mention she served on the 9/11 Commission. How misguided was that?
Congress could also grill Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) for his highly questionable conduct, allegedly manhandling a college kid who asked him if he agreed with the Obama agenda. Talk about congressional arrogance—Etheridge is the poster boy.
Other great morsels for the Congressional grill include former SEIU head/Obama crony Andy Stern and whoever has the misfortune to head up ACORN right now. Stern is on President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission but he allegedly left the SEIU in the red.
Some answers on what La Raza does with taxpayer money might also be in order.
A lot of answers on Climategate would be in order, considering the federal government has sunk billions and billions of dollars into questionable research that has accomplished nothing more than increased utility costs for consumers and an increased bank account for greenies like failed presidential candidate Al Gore (yes, I love calling him that because he's top of my 'Unlikable Politicos' list).
On the Climategate hotseat, we might add the Associated Press and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) Remember Waxman and his cronies paid a speed reader to read HR 2454 because most in Congress didn't read it before they passed it.
The list of potential 'grillees' is endless. We could really have some fun here.
BP’s corporate practices most definitely warrant an investigation. But Congress might want to think twice about hauling a CEO into a committee room for what amounts to a political inquisition designed as a verbal tar-and-feather session rather than a work session to find solutions to the well that’s still spewing and has been for months now.
As with Katrina, the situation in the Gulf is not only a failure of the private sector (many Katrina refugees had the opportunity to evacuate and chose not to). The disaster in the Gulf is a failure of the federal government on several levels.
US corporations do business all over the world. Our government delivers humanitarian aid all over the world. And Congress just gave other nations plenty of reason to haul any CEO or agency head before an inquisition for no other reason than to vent anger in an attempt to score political points.
That little BP inquisition could very well backfire.
Apparently our column on the BP grilling was prescient. CNN says, "India will make "vigorous" efforts to push the United States to extradite the former head of an American chemical company in connection with the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, a government minister said Monday."
As for how governments work, consider that the company paid a $470 million settlement to India in 1989. "But the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal said survivors have received an average of only $500 each in compensation."